Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Good Day

Any day spent with friends is a really good day!

Quilt friends, Sheila, Kathy and Mary.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Garden Maze

I’ve got a new springtime quilt to share. It was inspired by Marian Edwards, whose beautiful blog is a must read for anyone interested in antique and reproduction quilts, especially of the small variety.

Marian made her little quilt with bits and pieces left over from other quilt projects. I had similar bits laying around my own sewing room:

a single Dresden Plate block,

a couple appliqu├ęd flower blocks,

and some precut strips of fabric.

(Click photo to enlarge)

It just so happened my “bits” were all made from 1930’s prints; they begged to go into the same little quilt. 

Where I got the gumption to ask a friend to assemble these oddments for me, I'll never know. There weren't even enough pieces to call it the "beginnings" of a quilt, let alone a "work in progress." Kathy Smith asked for my ideas, added her own special touches, and created a miniature 1930's style sampler quilt that looks so fresh, I almost expect it to smell of spring. Thanks, Kathy!

(Click photo to enlarge)

I've named it "Garden Maze" for the labyrinthine pattern created by the strip pieced blocks. It measures 27” square and is backed with a sweet floral print.

I never could bear cutting into this jonquil fabric, so it’s nice having a big piece of it to admire on the back of the quilt.

Our grand kitty, Gandalf, laid claim to the quilt as we took pictures. I love the way his little tippy toes rest right at the edge.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birthday Treats

What’s sweeter on a birthday than cake and ice cream? How about a new doll quilt from my friend Barb?

I’ve mentioned before, our tradition of swapping doll quilts on birthdays. Half the fun is the anticipation, knowing exactly what the gift will be, yet trying to guess which pattern and fabrics Barb will use. I'm always surprised and delighted with her choices!

This year’s birthday quilt is a Courthouse Steps Log Cabin, made from double pink fabrics and shirting prints, particular favorites of both Barb's and mine.

feminine look created by pastel fabrics makes it a unique addition to my collection of little quilts.

Each log measures ¾”.

Of course, Barb always includes a surprise on the back of the quilt too. This time it‘s Parisian advertising labels ~ so pretty!

There were plenty of birthday treats from other friends as well. Terri baked a tray of mini cupcakes, using this classic Chicago restaurant recipe. They were moist, light, and way too easy to pop into my mouth whole. When Linda visited a few days later, she couldn't have known that the peppermint ice cream she brought for dessert would be used as a prop in a photo shoot (or that she‘d be enlisted as photographer).   

Thank you, dear friends, for indulging me so beautifully, so lovingly and so sweetly on my birthday. Your friendship enriches this tiny world I live in and makes it easier to face each new day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Every Stitch a Blessing, Every Stitch a Prayer

This is not the blog post I hoped to start the new year with. My dad’s health has been declining since Christmas and sadly, he passed away last week. Dad had Lewy Body Dementia, a cruel combination of symptoms similar to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dad died peacefully in his sleep, while in the care of hospice. He didn’t suffer, he didn’t linger and for that we are grateful. He'll be remembered by many as a cheerful and fun loving spirit, a devoted husband, a great dad and grandfather and an all around good guy.

People cope with grief and loss in different ways. For me, it 's natural to take solace in needle and thread. During the mid 1990’s, my needle got quite a workout when we lost several family members and friends within a few short years: a beloved aunt and uncle, my dear brother and his partner, a favorite grade school teacher, and the owner of the quilt shop where I worked. In the midst of it all, I also received my diagnosis of MS.

While it was tempting to wallow in self pity during those years, I knew I had to keep it together for my health and family’s sake. In true “fake it till you make it” fashion, I turned to quilting to cope with sadness and loss.

I chose a simple log cabin quilt design and knew a "liberated" approach to making it would free my mind of details like fabric choices and precision piecing. From my scrap basket, I randomly pulled fabrics, gave them a casual trim with scissors, and put them in piles of lights and darks. When I had enough pieces to run through the machine, I sewed them into log cabin blocks.


What began as mindless stitching became a prayerful experience. “Snip, sort, sew” was my mantra. The quiet focus and familiar rhythm of sewing helped soothe my broken spirit. 

This may not be the prettiest quilt I've ever made, but each stitch contains a blessing and a prayer for someone I love. It's a mourning quilt of sorts, and a testament to the therapeutic value of quilting.

Edited 1/26/15  I just read the story of a remarkable memory/mourning quilt HERE and wanted to share.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Long ago, before information was at our fingertips within seconds of an Internet search, life was different, especially when it came to family entertainment. Before Netflix, before YouTube or any type of home TV recording devices, we simply had to wait all year for the annual broadcast of "Wizard of Oz" at Thanksgiving or "It's a Wonderful Life" and Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" in December. If you happened to miss your favorite holiday film, you missed it until it rolled around the following year.

The same was true for another holiday favorite, the annual National Public Radio broadcast of humorist John Henry Faulk's "Christmas Story." Listening to his recollection of a special childhood Christmas became as much a holiday tradition in our family as hanging up stockings or decorating the tree.

We lovingly dubbed his story “Sandy Claus and the Stripedy Candy” because of the narrator’s rich Texas drawl and it is for this reason I recommend you listen to the story rather than just read it. The dialect adds to its charm.

I can find this broadcast Online any time I want now, but wonder if it was the waiting for it each year that made it seem so very special. See what you think. Find a few quiet moments to share the story with your family.

Wishing you love, joy, and a very merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

You’ve Got Mail

A package arrived on my doorstep,

and even though I was expecting it and knew what it contained,

I wasn’t prepared for the color and texture that exploded from the box, as I opened a quilt from Wanda Hanson.


It’s a Streak of Lightning quilt, the latest of many Zig Zag quilts Wanda has made. I’m crazy about this pattern and watched with interest as her project progressed, finally asking if the quilt was spoken for. It was not, and Wanda graciously gifted it to me.

The hand dyed fabrics sparkle and glow like stained glass and I just can’t decide which combination of vibrant colors is my favorite.

It covers me perfectly from nose to toes and is just wide enough to keep me warm without entangling my arms in extra quilt.

Whether I’m snuggled under the quilt or admiring it from across the room, those colorful zig zags make me smile. Thank you, Wanda, for a gift that warms both my body and soul.

  Details and Links
~36” x 63”
~Zig Zag quilt tutorial by Sujata Shah, The Root Connection
~Hand dyed cotton fabrics by Vicki Welsh

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Party’s Over: Confessions of a Control Freak on Thanksgiving Day

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was quiet and casual. My husband did all the cooking and William and his girlfriend were here to share our meal.

I had a blog post all prepared about my unsuccessful efforts to balance MS symptoms with my perfectionist tendencies at holiday time. It boiled down to my wanting to control things I have no control over and having a hard time relinquishing control to those who don’t take control quite the way I want them to. You know, a typical family holiday scenario.

My husband said that if I wanted to focus on the negative, I deserved to feel miserable. So, instead of griping, I've decided to sum up my frustration with a single photo.

This was our guest's view from her seat at the Thanksgiving table. Apparently, I was the only person bothered by this glaring mess, since no one else thought to hide it before dinner.

CLICK PHOTO for the festive details.

Happy Thanksgiving!